Aun Ali was asleep on May 8, 2019 morning when he got a call from his friend at 9 am that a bomb had exploded outside the Hajveri shrine. Within 10 minutes, he was driving his car towards the blast scene. So was Abdul Rehman, his former colleague of Aaj Tv.This was for the first time Aun and Rehman were going to cover a blast scene after the fateful Charing Cross bombing on February 13, 2017, where both were injured while covering a gathering as Aaj Tv crewmen. Their third colleague Muhammad Shafiq was also critically injured. Now, Aun works for Dawn newspaper as a photojournalist while Rehman is still, the Aaj Tv staffer. Shafiq has left the job. While heading towards the blast scene, Aun touched his left ear and felt a little pain. Whenever the public address system blares out loud music or speech, Aun Jafri’s ears hurt. “My body shudders and I feel a piercing pain in my ears,” says 36-year-old Jafri in a low tone. He has to suffer the ordeal every other day because of the nature of his job.This trouble started when Aun was injured in the blast at the Charing Cross, The Mall, Lahore at a sit-in camp of pharmaceutical companies’ manufacturers and owners when a suicide bomber targeted two senior police officers at the scene. A Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) official says the bomber arrived at the scene on foot and apparently the police personnel was the primary target. Seven police officials, including Deputy Inspector General of police Ahmed Mobin and Senior Superintendent of Police Zahid Gondal, were killed. At the time of the blast, there were 400 people with whom Mobin was negotiating to clear the road. Eighteen persons were killed and over 90 wounded in the blast.Aun, Rehman and Shafiq had a close shave.“I was by the passenger door of the DSNG of Aaj TV while the bomber below himself by the driver’s door. I was just three to four feet from the bomber. The van acted as the shield but shrapnel and shards hit my neck, back and leg,” Aun recalls. For one minute, he fell in silence as his hearing stopped working. When he regained his senses, he checked his camera, which had crashed. He rushed to his car which was parked 500 meters from the blast scene. He brought his standby-camera and started his duty – taking pictures of the scene.“I took the last pictures of DIG Mobin; I was the first to take the picture of deceased Mobin,” Aun cries. “This is the nature of our job.”He kept on taking picture after picture for quite some time when his cousin and journalist Moyed Jafri arrived there. Seeing him drenched in blood Moyed took Aun first to nearby Ganga Ram Hospital, and after finding no space there, to the Services Hospital. He was treated there for shrapnel wounds, dressed and sent home.Since the blast, Aun has been under pressure from his wife to abandon the job, which is full of risks. Even today, his wife says she remains worried until Aun does not return home.“When I left for the Hajveri shrine blast scene, I didn’t tell her where I was going,” he says. Pakistan has seen 72 journalists die from 2002 to 2018, according to the Pakistan Press Foundation. Of them, 48 were killed in a targeted killing. Their cases linger on as since 2003 when American journalist Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan and 2013, trials in only five cases were concluded.Aun says he was never called for evidence or investigation by the police regarding the blast case. The Civil Lines Police says the case pertained to the CTD. A CTD official says the 10 facilitators of the Charing Cross bomber were killed in an encounter near Manawan on April 8, 2018. After that, the case has been closed.On the other hand, Rehman was lucky to survive the blast as he was behind the truck of the demonstrators. He says with the blast, he fell and passed out. When he regained senses, he stood up to find his camera. Soon, he felt pain in his right leg. He saw his leg bleeding. He handed over the camera to his colleagues of Dunya Tv and cried for help. Soon, he was rushed to the Services Hospital where doctors started his treatment.He remained admitted to the hospital for 10 days and by that time, he was not fully recovered. He got follow-up treatment from another month from the Ghurki Teaching Hospital. Shafiq suffered critical injuries in his kidney. He remained admitted to the Services Hospital for over a month. Once recovered, he left the job.The Charing Cross blast was not the first incident, where Aun has cheated death. On September 1, 2010, he was at the gates of Karbala Gamay Shah to cover the procession of Yaum-i-Ali on Ramazan 21 when a bomber blew up just 10 meters from him. This time, a truck was between him and the bomber. He remembered he was the first to arrive at a bomb blast site outside the GPO on The Mall on January 24, 2008. This place is just 500 meters from his office of Aaj TV.After the Charing Cross blast, each of the journalists received Rs 300,000 on behalf of the Punjab government, Rs 100,000 from the Balochistan government and Rs 25,000 from Aaj TV. After the cheques were delivered, no government official has ever contacted Aun. Neither did any journalists’ body. “Press clubs and journalists’ bodies reserve their demos and condemnation statements whenever a high-profile journalist is harmed,” he complains, adding that they were never invited to any workshop regarding journalists’ safety and security. Rehman has also similar views.When asked on this issue, Lahore Press Club governing body member Hassan Taimur Jhakkar says the press club rules do not reserve any specific amount for the terror-hit journalists. The press club, however, writes to the government to release funds from the journalists support grants. He said the press club premises had arranged several workshops on journalists security and safety.According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting sources, a draft of Journalists Safety, Security and Protection Bill, 2018 has been prepared for the welfare of the journalists. The bill is in the process of consultations. According to the draft, sources said, the journalists and non-journalists workers coming under attack would be provided with both medical and legal aid from a fund. The ministry has disbursed Rs30,573,570 since 2015 to journalists and media workers.The proposed bill also extends aid to the families of journalists and media houses employees who are killed while on duty. The draft bill also ensures the investigation of crime or threats against journalists. After the blast, Aun and Rehman see life from a different angle.“The coverage of so many blasts has made a war correspondent. I have seen war like bloodbath here on Lahore several times, why should I be afraid of war reporting?” he says.Rehman, however, remains under a constant sense of uncertainty, sleep-deprived and jerks since he suffered the blast. “My attention span has decreased. I am often lost in deep thinking, which sometimes distracts my work too.” He was neither provided with any trauma counseling nor is he aware of any such service in Lahore. “Being a cameraman, I’m often exposed to public places. Whenever I am shoved and pushed, I become confused and uncertain. This did not use to be before the blast.”After the blast, the biggest help to Rehman has been his family and a few friends. Not even those big politicians or public figures, who often give us large smiles and treat nicely when the camera is in my hands, and they want full focus and more camera time.”To Abdul Rehman, every day on duty feels like any day could be the last day of duty. He is doing the job reluctantly since “there is no option for me to feed my family”.This article was written as part of the Pakistan Press Foundation fellowship.